I must say it does feel a little like Christmas already in the frozen wastes of the Northeast of England. Partly because it is bag-bitingly cold but also as the post came this morning with my new watch (the mother of all watches) which I’ll detail shortly – but first…
I’ve been getting myself upset the past couple of days because my trusty Power+ SMT soldering station (which I figured was a couple of years old from eBay) recently found itself with a bust soldering bit. After I discovered that my spare bits had gone missing in our recent house move, I looked up the station in my emails only to discover that I bought it back in 2013 from China and Ebay apparently does not keep my purchase history that far back so NO chance of spare parts – not even a manufacturer’s name on the unit.
Well, I was ready to throw the towel in and buy a new station when on a whim, I took out a stand-alone Chinese soldering iron I received last year and checked the bits on that – they MATCH. I’ve sent off to AliExpress for a set of 5 bits for the astounding sum of sub-£2 and I’m back in action. Meanwhile I took a spare tip from the stand alone iron kit – and you see it in the photo above.
By comparison my old Antex iron has spare bits available which are NOT compatible – and they are £15 EACH.
Reader Antonio has commented below that he sometimes for convenience he simply swaps over the entire iron as it saves time compared to waiting for a worn bit to cool off for replacement. At first I wasn’t sure what he meant by costs of a spare, surely a replacement soldering iron has to be tens of pounds/dollars/Euros?
But no.. I checked on the AliExpress site:
As it turns out, my fears were completely misplaced.. compatible irons are DIRT CHEAP – unbelievably cheap in fact.
I’ll get one of these as it has the heating element, For now however I have several spare bits on order for even less for set of 5 than an iron – see photo…
I would never have guessed such low pricing – especially in view of Antex replacement costs.
Who cares if these Chinese units don’t last as long as an Antex iron (that’s only a guess, I have no reason to think they are inferior – one reason I put my expensive Antex iron to one side back in 2013) – at this price if they last a couple of months…. and in reality my POWER+ SMT soldering station has been good for 5 years with only a few bit changes, maybe 3 or 4.. (granted, only winter use as I have another station in Spain).
I hope, dear reader, if you find yourself in this situation, that this info proves useful to you as it has to me.
Anyway – next blog entry – the new watch.